The coronavirus pandemic has created the ideal conditions for a new social platform to thrive. With millions around the world isolated in lockdown and hungry for social connection, the need for conversation has never been greater…
Say hello to Clubhouse – the new kid on the block, making big waves in the social media space.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a new audio-focused social app that launched in Spring 2020. The invite-only (for now) app has surged in popularity amid appearances by some high-profile celebrities, with global downloads now exceeding 10 million.
What makes Clubhouse different?
The key difference between Clubhouse and the other leading social platforms is its use of audio as the primary communication format. Clubhouse claim that this ensures that the “focus is on dialogue and connection, rather than likes or followers”.
For many of us who are feeling Zoom fatigue, the lack of video is a welcome tonic. With no likes, no opportunity to post text-based comments and – wait for it – no recorded audio, Clubhouse feels far away from social media as we know it.
How does it work?
Based on your interests, Clubhouse recommends people to follow and suggests conversations for you to attend. If you want to find a specific conversation to join, you can browse content based on a wide range of interests, such as film, culture and tech.
You can switch from conversation to conversation, taking part in discussions on the virtual stage once allowed by moderators. Alternatively, you can start your own event and invite people to join.
The drop-in nature of Clubhouse gives it an informal vibe, and the real-time audio makes it feel much more conversational than a podcast.
Who’s using it?
Clubhouse takes networking to the next level; in December, 40 strangers who met on Clubhouse auditioned, rehearsed and hosted a full-blown musical production for thousands of people that made national headlines.
Whilst this type of connection isn’t going to happen for everyone, we are seeing people flock to the platform to have authentic conversations around shared interests. Clubhouse is thriving in an environment where people are missing the experience of attending in-person events and conferences.
The semi-exclusive nature of the app has attracted a host of celebrities to the platform… Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the same ‘room’ as Kevin Hart, Elon Musk or even Oprah!
Whilst the userbase of the app is American-focussed at the moment, its world-wide userbase is expected to grow rapidly as Clubhouse continues to scale.
How do you get started?
If you’ve got an iPhone, you can download the appfrom the Apple store and reserve a username.
The app is still in the early stages of opening up to everyone, so you’ll be added to the waiting list – unless you receive an invite from a friend who is already using the platform. Saying that, it won’t be long until Clubhouse opens up to a much wider user base.
What opportunities does Clubhouse offer brands?
Currently, the platform is free to join (with no ads). However, it is rumoured to be introducing features like tipping, paid Rooms and sponsored Clubs.
At the moment, the opportunities for brands to contribute to the app are still limited – but with further development, opportunities will grow.
One of the areas of real value that Clubhouse can offer brands is around its ability to create and engage authentic communities. For instance, when you have hosted 3 or more events, you can apply to host a ‘Club’ at a set time every week. Through establishing a Club, you can build an audience and interest in your topic, re-engaging your audience on a weekly basis.
Why it’s worth your attention…
The rapid growth of Clubhouse, along with the continued popularity of podcasts, has helped to fuel an ‘audio boom’. Right now, the audio space offers a home for conversations that would happen elsewhere (or not at all) in other circumstances.
Both Facebook and Twitter are rushing to create audio products on the back of Clubhouse’s success. Twitter recently announced its Spaces feature and has accelerated the rollout of its voice-based chatrooms.
As the popularity of social audio continues to grow rapidly, early adopters in this space could win big.
Time will tell whether this trend continues to boom as the world starts to get back to in-person conversation. But for now, we’ll see you in the Club!
If you’re interested in finding out more about how to build audio into your marketing strategy, get in touch.